Ok, so before you go calling me a hypocrite, or get upset with me because I have promoted this diet in the past let me explain. First, I still think Paleo in general has some really great qualities. For most people in our society, they are eating way too much processed crap and when they go “paleo” they feel better and many times they lose weight. People with aches, pains, and lack energy all the time, once on this diet, tend to see symptoms go away for at least awhile. So with all this said, why would I be not promoting it as heavily as I used to. Well there are a Few.
First: Is Rice Really aweful for you?? Asians have been eating rice for Thousands of years and don’t have many of the same problems that hard core Paleo Sycophants claim happen from eating this pretty neutral grain. Also, bodybuilders have been eating rice for years and remain pretty ripped. Japanese also have some of the lowest cases of heart disease in the world and also low on the scale of Cancer as well. In the case of rice quantity is key. Eating a serving isn’t going to cause you to break out in a fat suit or make your body blow up with inflammation. The problem with rice is people eat way too much of it. If we can just remember that our mouths are not a vacuum rice isn’t all that bad.
Second: FOOD IS NOT A RELIGION!!! When I was promoting this diet, I made the mistake of having clients google the paleo diet for recipes and ideas etc….. It pretty much scared the hell out of many of them. There are blogs of people that would freak out if anyone dared give their kid a bit of processed food, and I also came across communities of people actually basing friendships around only those that ate paleo. The focus on food goes beyond a healthy relationship with food especially for those the get sucked in. When I was on the diet eating with others that ate Paleo I felt that everyone was looking over my shoulder when I ate. If I was eating a bag of nuts I couldn’t count how many times I would get asked “are there peanuts in there? You know peanuts aren’t a nut don’t you”? Go on discussions boards and you get people talking about being “orthodox” or “unorthodox” in their approach to eating Paleo.
Third: What the hell is wrong with Beans?
Besides possibly being a bit hard on digestion what is the issue? Sure, we can all agree that soy beans are trash because they are genetically modified and probably loaded with estrogen like chemicals, but I can’t really find any proof that beans are bad besides rhetoric and hearsay? It’s always based on what so and so said. Kind of like vegans that can’t do anything but quote other Vegan authors as their source of proof that it is the “way”. So many cultures have consumed beans for centuries without problems to health and disease. If you want to discuss digestion problems give me a few cups of uncooked broccoli and we may issues as well. Again, with beans portion control like anything is crucial.
Fourth: Low Carbing it
Yes, I know the Paleo diet isn’t a low carb diet, but unfortunately most people that are on it tend to turn it into another form of the ATKINS diet. If you are working out hard and kicking ass on your workouts you need carbs. Sure, those that want to eat paleo and get healthy carbs are usually smart and choose starchy squashes and yams, but after awhile yams and starches get old. Seriously folks Beans and rice are OK.
Fifth: Paleo Pizza and Almond Milk
This is what pisses me off the most about the Paleo Religous type. They will freak out if oats, grains, peanuts, or dairy touch their foods and they will tout eating unprocessed foods like the caveman ate yet they have cute recipes for their paleo pizza with almond meal and some sort of paleo cheese they purchased and for a wonderful desert they eat yummy almond milk ice cream shake…. Guess what Cavemen didn’t eat that crap because that too is processed. Kind of funny how we can trick ourselves into thinking something is what it isn’t. Unless you are milking the almond milk strait from the Almond nipples, it is processed.
Paleo and Sports Performance:
Also if you want to really talk about amazing world class athletes and how nutrition plays a roll how many Professional football players, soccer players, basketball, or world class fighters eat low carb or paleo for that matter. It only seems to matter to those that exercise a lot. Crossfitters tend to be notorious for high intensity/low carb paleo and in many cases it is a great way to create burnout and adrenal fatigue, but the funny thing some of the top Crossfit game contenders that really kicked ass this year didn’t eat low carb paleo. Peanut butter and Rice were a staple.
The Best Parts of Paleo
There is tons of research that Gluten and Corn could have some pretty crappy qualities, and that milk can also screw with some people’s digestion and cause inflammation. Realistically cutting those foods out alone could make a world of difference to most people without having to buy in to a certain philosophy that makes you feel less than if you have a bowl of oatmeal. When working with my clients just cutting out the bread and gluten can change their lives. Paleo really can get people on the right track, and at the end of the day it is most likely better than what 90% of the people out there are eating. It just goes too far in many cases and just doesn’t work in all situations, especially for those involved in high intensity exercise and eating low carb.